Goal Setting That Works | How To Set Goals


There’s just something about starting a new year that brings with it a tonne of motivation.

That fresh start where energy levels are high and excitement is at its peak. Where our passion for giving those dreams of ours a  shot is reignited and our visions of living bigger and better are at the forefront of our thinking.

But we get to about February and the motivation starts to taper off.

Sadly by March most goals have been abandoned or forgotten about. And research shows, in the end only about 8% of people stick with their good intentions.

So what do this 8% do differently?

Are they just more willing to invest wholeheartedly to work towards their goals? Maybe.
“Experts say it has more to do with how they set themselves up for success. Specifically, they invest the time and effort into effective goal planning.”

So with the new year just weeks away, here’s a list of the best results-driven tactics to ensure you are part of that 8% and make 2018 your best year yet!

Goal setting that works:

Get super clear

Vague or generalised goals such as ‘eat better‘ or ‘save more‘ won’t serve you.

They need to be specific and well defined so that they can be measured. What? When? And how? As Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project explains, specific goals such as ‘lose 5 kilos in 12 weeks‘ or ‘pay off credit cards by March‘ are easier to measure, making the action steps towards achieving them less difficult to map out.

But there’s also the Why.

Connecting emotion with your goals will help you remember why they were important to you in the first place and will reignite your passion for reaching them when things get difficult.

Write it down

Study after study has shown that those who write down their goals accomplish significantly more (42% more to be exact ) than those who don’t.

Why? Because putting pen to paper forces you to clarify what you want, motivates you to take action and makes it easier for you to see your progress and celebrate your successes. Need I say more?

In this video, WE Financial Coach Christine Dang reflects on her 2017 financial goals. One of her key takeaways for goal setting that works? Journaling those thoughts and feelings surrounding her goals.

Set up rewards

Adam Jelic founder of the stationary brand Mi Goals suggests celebrating your successes by rewarding yourself once you have achieved your targets. Book a Bali getaway for smashing your fitness goals. Maybe a winery weekend for clearing your credit card debt (paid with cash of course!).

Whatever it may be, rewards will help maintain your motivation and make reaching your goals even more satisfying.

Make yourself accountable

Us millennials like to use social media for this one, especially when it comes to our fitness goals.

Our Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of people documenting their weight loss journeys.

So whether it’s a very public declaration or a more private announcement to your family, making your intentions known to somebody makes it harder to pull out as your integrity is on the line. It encourages you to stay on track and helps fuel your desire to succeed.

And chances are, you’ll also have another person (or even hundreds) cheering you on.

Tackle one new idea per week

In the well-known book, Work Smarter not HarderJack Collis explains that attempting to make wholesale, abrupt changes in your behaviour are not the way to go.

Going after everything at once will deplete your willpower.

The best and most effective way to implement change is gradual, smoothly and systematically. This might sound slow, but taking on one new challenge per week equates to over 50 new techniques applied over the year! Compared to a failed attempt at all of them.

Visualise it!

From boxing superstar Muhammad Ali to the highly successful actor and comedian Jim Carrey, these legends, among others, credit a large part of their success to picturing themselves achieving their goals. Ali would habitually visualise himself being victorious and Carrey would imagine himself as the most well-known and respected actor in Hollywood.

You can apply this extremely effective process to any area you want to improve. And the more vividly you can picture achieving your goal, the better it will work for you.

For goal setting that works, you need to think about all the little details:

  • What will it look like?

  • How will it make you feel when you reach it?

Sit with that vision daily and watch the effect it has on your success.

Don’t expect perfection

Remember you are human and your journey won’t be a straight line to success.

Setbacks are par for the course, so don’t adhere to the ‘all or nothing attitude’. If you fall off the wagon don’t wait till Monday to restart, jump back on today. Some days just won’t work and that’s ok. Resolve to keep on going. Three steps forward and one step back is still moving forward.

Get support

“We’ve all heard the importance of being around the right people, especially when chasing our goals.”

As a life coach, author and motivational speaker Gabrielle Bernstein explains, when you’re in pursuit of a dream, there are many elements that can resist your path and block your forward motion.

Surrounding yourself with people that are genuinely cheering for you will help you disengage from this resistance and keep you moving forward. 

These simple strategies will help you get the most out of the new year but only if you take action.

Print this out, make time for goal setting and if you haven’t already, join the best support network around (aka WE)!


Book your Free Strategy Session.  What are you waiting for?

Article by Evie Tramer
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.